Bollywood Link-up Rumours: Real or PR Strategy?

Here’s why you hear about co-stars dating right before a film release.

3 min read
Are rumoured couples just a PR strategy?

Being in the media industry for so many years, I know exactly which news will grab eyeballs and which ones won't. Despite all the criticism, Bollywood 'link-up' stories still garner the maximum interest. "Who is that actor/actress' dating?", "Who were spotted holding hands at the airport?" - stories related to these get crazy viewership on digital platforms and social media.

That's exactly what brands and PRs of celebrities have been riding on for ages. Have you ever wondered why these link-up rumours surface right before a film's release or when film’s shoot is going on? The Quint spoke to a few experts from the film industry, the paparazzi and PRs, who told us that most of these kind of 'link-ups' are not mere coincidences, but carefully planned strategies.

1. To Create A Buzz

Right before Janhvi Kapoor and Ishaan Khattar were about to make their big Bollywood debut with Dhadak, rumours about them dating started doing the rounds. The duo were spotted together at restaurants in Mumbai, film screenings, the gym and so on. You name a place and the next day Ishaan and Janhvi were clicked there. The actors soon started making headlines, leaving people wanting more.

Here's an example: Pics: Are ‘Dhadak’ Couple Janhvi & Ishaan Really Dating?

Mission accomplished!

Headlines Janhvi Kapoor and Ishaan Khatter made during 'Dhadak'
Headlines Janhvi Kapoor and Ishaan Khatter made during 'Dhadak'
(Photo Altered by The Quint)

Similarly, around the release of Sanam Re there were reports of Pulkit Samrat and Yami Gautam seeing each other. But, whenever the actors were quizzed regarding the same, they were vague about it. Later, in an interview to Pulkit admitted, "The rumours were started only to promote the film. And we are very happy because it’s helping the movie. I am glad the promotions are going well".

According to reports, Sara Ali Khan and Kartik Aaryan pulled the plug on their alleged romance shortly after they wrapped shooting for Imtiaz Ali's Love Aaj Kal. Till then, the duo were being constantly referred to as "the rumoured couple". Even Saif Ali Khan was asked about Sara's boyfriend in his interviews. From being spotted together at every possible place to posting mushy pictures during the shoot, Sara and Kartik were very much the talk of the town.

Sara Ali Khan and Karthik Aryan grabbed headlines as the 'rumoured couple'
Sara Ali Khan and Karthik Aryan grabbed headlines as the 'rumoured couple'
(Photo Altered by The Quint)

2. To Attract Brands

Celebrity couples have always been highly profitable for brands. So when the lead pair of a movie comes together as a 'couple' in front of the public, they can combine their influence across platforms. If rumours are floating about celebrities dating, brands start queuing up to feature them in their advertisements.

Please note: This kind of link-up gossip is never refuted or accepted by the actors in question. They just play along.

3. To Stand Out From Competition

Welcome to the bigger world of Bigg Boss. If you are wondering why I am referring to Bigg Boss, let me explain. The game is the same. While in the reality show contestants chase votes, the link-up rumours are a way to get maximum attention.

With so much competition around PR teams are always racking their brains to devise ways in which their clients can stand out in the crowd. And what better way than creating a power couple? A "rumoured" couple spotted at a coffee shop will automatically make the cameras turn.

4. To Be in News

No films in hand? No music videos? How does one make sure he or she is not out of sight or mind? Well, by now you know how.

I am not saying all the 'link-ups' are fake. Most celebrities who are actually dating avoid flaunting it. For example, there were rumours about Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor dating around the release of 2 States. Then came rumours about Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt during the release of Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. Did Varun Dhawan ever get spotted with Natasha Dalal then? Did Arjun Kapoor speak about his partner Malaika Arora?

There were rumours of Sidharth Malhotra and Tara Sutaria dating when Marjaavaan was nearing its release date. Did you have any clue about Tara dating Aadar Jain then? Another rumour doing the rounds of late is about Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal. But are they ever spotted together? Katrina even deleted a photo recently only because some people spotted Vicky's reflection in the picture. So, now you know why.

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